March 23 • 09:02 PM

More food for the 'good dog' in all of us

July 08, 2009
In an effort to keep the good stuff rolling, here's some more feedback about how "being kinder than necessary" goes a long way. The Native Americans have a saying— "There are two dogs living within me. The one I feed the most is the one that grows the strongest."

I want to keep feeding the good dog.

A reader—and onetime subject of one of my stories—emails me after the 'good deed' column that appeared a couple of weeks back.

His name is Alex Craig and some of you may recall his quest to find news of his teenage sweetheart later in life. Alex is 84, and spent 60 wonderful years married to the love of his life, Marie. Unfortunately, Alex lost Marie last November when she passed away. After a time he embarked on a quest for information about Geraldine Korth from the Capac area. He and Gerry were an item before he was shipped off to serve in World War II. The quest proved very interesting for both of us, and forged a bond that's been a blessing in my life.

If there's one thing anyone would say about Alex Craig it is that he is a gentleman and a gentle man.

When he reads the column from a couple of weeks ago—and a front page story about a couples' random act of kindness to a local Iraq war veteran—Alex decides to share his thoughts. Here they are:

The two acts of kindness articles you wrote gave me a good feeling. I am no Donald Trump but I am blessed that I do not have to worry about where my next meal comes from. At this stage in my life helping people gives me great satisfaction...

I want to share this little story with you. I walk every morning at a wellness center here in Davison. There is a 90+ little lady named Marie who always walks about the same time. Sharp dress, sharp mind, drives a white Pontiac Vibe. It's always, "Good morning, Alex. How are you?" etc.

One day a couple of weeks ago I thought, 'I wonder if Marie would like to have a coffee with me.' So I asked, she said, "I would love to." We agree to meet at Tim Hortons. When ordering my intention was to pay for the donut and coffee. She said, "No you don't this is going to be 'dutch.'" After a nice visit Marie said "This has been so good for me, let's do it again soon. I want to know about your and Marie's life (my Marie also walked). We had coffee a week later and I shared the article you wrote about me and Gerry. She enjoyed it and commented that she thought it was so well written. She thanked me several times and said how much the visits helped the lonliness she lives with.This just goes to show how little things make a big difference.

Just like people like reading "good news" stories, I like receiving them. I need them. I think we all do. Elsewhere on this page you'll see another example about the power of a kind word or two. Like Alex, someone took a minute to feed the good dog.

In this business—probably in most businesses—we don't hear too much about what we do right. Sometimes I wonder if the person I wrote about thinks whatever I wrote was okay...sometimes I fret and stew over it—all sorts of things from the editorial to the column and everything in between. Usually people are moved to write or comment when I've offended, gotten something wrong, am misinformed or misunderstood. I am not alone in this wonder/worry. We all go through it.

That's why Beth Turner's letter about one of Willene Tanis's recent columns is so great. She took the time to let us know that Willene's words resonated with her, that she got something out of them.

This is especially great because Willene is such an honest writer. With the column (about weddings and marriage) Willene even mentions that it is not her intention to offend anyone or make any sort of judgment call. I'm quite certain she stewed and sweated a little after she wrote it and after it appeared in the paper.

While all of the feedback we get goes a long way with us—it is all taken to heart—Beth's thoughtful words are like a little spark, a little hug, a lot of kindness to be passed along.

Email Catherine at

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